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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eternal Vigilance!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tired Old Script

Nowhere has it been more apparent that mainstream reporters are cliche clinging, almost pre-programmed in their coverage of stories, than in the coverage of the primary races.

Recently on
Media Nation, Porcupine was debating a Boston Globe article by Jeff Jacoby, called "What Would Reagan Say?" , which implied that Romney's Michigan pledge to reinvent the car industry (something his Dad actually did with the introduction of the compact car) was anti-Reagan pandering.

Well, I'm more of a Goldwater Republican myself, but as to what would Reagan say, per Mr. Jacoby? Reagan would say he bailed out Chrysler.

Reporters like to follow a well-worn rut when doing political reporting. Romney has more delegates, more first place finishes, and more campaign funds than any other candidate and yet the Punditocracy keeps syaing he'll have to drop out. Because he isn't following their script. Of course, the front loaded primaries weren't on their script either, and that is what is driving events. The reporters sound like Paul Harvey talking about what was, not is or will be.

Why was all the media attendion on South Carolina, with 31 delegates, instead of Nevada with 34? Because that's how the old script was written. I'm sorry that reporters loathe Mitt Romney (Why? He's always been unfailingly polite with them...) but media can't shape public opinion any more just like unions can't deliver membership as voters any more either. Actual voters are choosing Mitt Romney - he's gotten more votes than any other candiate, too. In fact, in Nevada, he got more votes by himself that all the Democratic candidates put together!

McCain cannot win without independents to prop up his numbers in open primaries. In the closed primaries coming up, Mitt Romney will secure the nomination. Florida will be the beginning.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Fake Outrage or Real Issue?

Porcupine enjoys reading different newspapers when he is away. Since he is currently in the middle of a white-out snowstorm in Maine, he has had ample time to read two stories in the Sunday Bangor Daily News, and to consider them in light of one another.

The first is a front page story, Section A, which is part of a series called ‘Mainers in Crisis’, sub headed "Some of these stories have not been told because the victims of $100-per-barrel oil feel to embarrassed by their circumstances to reveal them." Knowing Maine, Porcupine doesn’t have any trouble believing that assertion. The story of the McAlpine family is one of a dozen stories featured.

The Cliff Notes version of the story of Bruce McAlpine and June Days is as follows – Last fall, McAlpine’s towing business burned down, forcing him to look for temporary work since unemployment doesn’t cover the self-employed. When their son, Bryce, was born in October he spent 49 days in neonatal intensive care, eating up the family’s heating oil savings with drives from Ellsworth to Bangor; Maine has a new higher gas tax, so a car costs even more to drive than in Mass. And public transportation is non-existent. When they brought the baby home at Thanksgiving, the oil tank was empty. McAlpine couldn’t find a heating oil company which would deliver fewer than 100 gallons, so he bought fuel a few gallons at a time for a while and brought it home in a jug. They have Styrofoam panels over the windows in their trailer to conserve heat, and leave the oven open after dinner is cooked. By not paying the electric bill – which can’t be turned off until April – they got together the money for oil, all the time knowing that they have a huge debt to pay in the spring unless Bruce can find regular work.

On the front page of Section B, a Bangor man whose company had a contract to clean the floors of area Hannaford Bros. supermarkets has been charged in federal court with employing illegal aliens and harboring illegal aliens at his Fruit Street residence. The investigation of Manuel Cornejo, 29, began a year ago with the arrest of one of his former employees. Cornejo is an American citizen but lived in El Salvador before moving to the United States, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office. Eight employees, working at local supermarkets, all had false Social Security numbers, and four were living at Mr. Cornejo’s house. Hannaford Supermarkets has not been charged (something Mitt Romney, who was caught in a similar situation, can take comfort from). Interestingly, the supermarket contracted with a Danvers, MA firm, Cleaning Services Group, which had hired the Bangor firm using illegal immigrants as labor. It seems odd that this Mass. firm did not notice that Mr. Cornejo wasn’t withholding any taxes or unemployment from the wages of his workers.

So – we have a lifelong Mainer, McAlpine, desperate for work in the Bangor area, and an El Salvadoran bringing worker to Maine for the jobs 'Americans won’t do'. How moved do you think Mr. McAlpine is by arguments that illegal immigrants should have tuition tax breaks? Or that El Salvador is lacking in economic opportunity and freedom?

Like Porcupine’s friend Dan Kennedy, will Bruce McAlpine regard illegal immigration as “fake outrage over a non-issue”, as Kennedy states HERE and HERE? Or will he see it as an issue to rival the Iraq War when he chooses who to vote for for President?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Fantasy Crushed

What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
Langston Hughes, Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951)

Porcupine has had a dream since Sept. 6, 2007 as he watched the Colts begin the new season against the Saints in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

The Patriots and the Colts would play for the AFC championship in January of 2008. The Pats would have secured home field advantage (even in musings, Porcupine never dared to dream that the Patriots would have a perfect 16 - 0 season). The day would dawn, bleak and threatening. Along about the end of the first quarter, a nor'easter would begin. The wind would be in Peyton Manning's face, stinging his ugly and prominent nose with tiny pellets of frozen rain, making his unpleasant grimace even more pronounced. The bitterly cold wind would take away his claim to accuracy, and give him another element to point his bony finger at as his throws went wide. Brady, of course, would continue to play supurb ball, with 60 yard passes and quarterback sneaks. Somewhere along the line, Peyton would slip in the slush, causing him painful bruises and wet lycra high lustre pants. The Colts would limp to a humiliating defeat, unable to play ball outside the cocoon of their protective Dome.

Then, the Chargers ate their lunch.

Porcupine feels a measure of disappointment, as he has mentally played the Patriots-Colts match-up so many times. During long drives, on stressful days, the image of Peyton Manning being roughly pelted by the elements was always a cheering one.

His only consolation is that Eli Manning and the Giants advanced further in the playoffs, which will make for an interesting Sunday dinner at the Manning household. His only fear is that Eli will start to make television commercials now, too.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

The Boiler Room

Porcupine went door to door for George Bush in Maine in 2004, and got to picket John Edwards at a speech in Lewiston. The zest of a Presidential campaign is astounding, so naturally, Porcupine took one of the daily buses from Mass. to Manchester, to work in Mitt Romney's telephone boiler room. Here's a shot of the outside, with some McCain volunteers wasting their time in the snow -

But, inside it looked different. As we came off our various buses, we were divided into activities - door to door, sign standout, or like here, telephoning.

Like most campaigns, we were given coffee, water, tonic and pizza. But, we had one additional incentive - the person who made the most calls in a shift would win a Mitt Romney bobblehead! While I was able to make a few hundred, the lady who won had made 430, and had driven up from Virginia to stay with her sister and work for the campaign. I DID get a Mitt Mobile keychain, though....

Also - GOP Reps. Brad Jones, Mary Rogeness, Bob Hargreaves (BEST on the phones!), Lou Evangelides, both Poiriers (Kevin and Betty), and Richard Ross were all there phoning and going door-to-door in the snow! National Committeeman Ron Kaufman was there, as indeed he has been everywhere with the campaign throughout.

One of the most interesting visitors was Congressman Tom Tancredo. While Porcupine was aware that he had endorsed Mitt, he was very surprised to see his trim demeanor at the Manchester HQ, and answering questions - here is is below with Porcupine's neighboring caller, Andrew (Andrew - the better 'posed' photo died in Porcupine's phone, so all I have is this candid; my apologies).

Porcupine was able to talk with the Congressman for a while, and told him he admired his campaign. Porcupine considered telling the Congressman that Central Mass Dad on Blue Mass Group had identified him as the Most Successful Candidate in the race (see BMG post HERE), but Porcupine was worried about being tossed into a snowback as a mole. Or being made to carry a McCain sign. Congressman Tancredo was there to do an endorsement along with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County Arizona, who had a few things to say on the subject of illegal immigration and his own Senator's failure to respond - not just this year, but for many years. Illegal immigration is a tremendously hot issue, so naturally, there was no word in the mainstream media about these endorsements.

What was the overall demeanour? Since Porcupine was calling 'undecided' voters, he frequently said that he was sorry to be another annoying political phone call, and that they must be getting hammered. Usually, they laughed and agreed, and Porcupine pointed out that was what they got for being first in the nation. Some were intrigued that Porcupine had worked on the State House staff while Mitt was Governor, and had some specific questions; primarily, Porcupine vouched for the fact that Mitt is a decent and intelligent man, and that if Government needs anything at all right now, it's a big infusion of 'smart'.

But one call was most memorable - a woman, aged 82, was very upset that all of the GOP candidates struck her as weak on the Second Amendment. Porcupine asked if she would not agree that the salvation of the right to bear arms would be the Supreme Court rather than legislation. She did agree, and Porcupine asked her if she knew that Judge Robert Bork had endorsed Mitt Romney, calling him the best choice to appoint strict constructionist Justices to the Court. She had NOT known that, and was very excited. "I'll tell my whole gun club!", she cried. And that is how the boiler room works - changing one mind at a time, and helping to win elections bit by bit.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Last year on this date, a little after 5 p.m., Porcupine was standing outside the wrought iron gates of the Massachusetts State House, and snapped this picture of Gov. Mitt and Ann Romney as they paused for the traditional 19 gun salute for the departing Governor.

The central doors of the State House are only opened for a current President, a head of State, and a departing Governor. The Long Walk is usually very festive, and this was no exception. Gov. Romney had just completed the exchange of traditional symbols of power, giving them to Gov.-Elect Deval Patrick - The Pewter Key, a ceremonial key to the lock on the Governor's office door; The Gavel, made from wood from the U.S.S. Constitution; The Butler Bible, given to the Commonwealth by Gov. Benjamin F. Butler when he departed office in 1884; and the Massachusetts General Statutes, a two-volume set of the state's General Statutes dating back to 1860, in which each Governor leaves a note to his successor inscribed in the volumes.

Porcupine watched as Gov. Romney left the State House, giving a friendly wave to the reporters standing up on the balcony. By today, that cordiality might be tempered somewhat - at a recent party, Porcupine was talking with a Romney campaign operative from California, Dan Centrinello, who said he had never in his RNC work all across the nation seen such a vindictive and misleading media corps as that in Boston. But really, much of that is due to their complete and utter disbelief that Gov. Romney might triumph where Sen. John Kerry failed; here in the Bluest State, how can our random speck of Red be a national success?

Exactly one year later, Mitt and Ann Romney are at the Iowa caucuses, with New Hampshire early next week. Gold or Silver, as the Governor likes to put it, it has been an amazing effort by a formerly obscure Governor from a population-losing, doctrinaire New England state.

For Porcupine, the hard work will make Romney's inauguration in one MORE year and a few weeks all the more enjoyable.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Porcupine is watching Mike Huckabee stammering his explanation on Hannity & Colmes about how showing an attack ad to a room full of high-octane reporters, and then piously announcing that he WASN'T going to attack anybody, while the ad ran behind him and there were foam core images of the attack, wasn't REALLY important, but how we should instead talk about "hunger, poverty and the enviornment".

Above is a captured copy of his ad - could his epiphany about negative campaigning have anything to do with the jab that Mitt Romney failed to execute any criminals while he was Governor? (pssstt....Mass. HAS no death penalty...in fact, while Governor, Romney filed what he called a 'gold standard' death penalty bill, requiring DNA evidence, eyewitnesses, etc. - and the Legislature still voted it down). Huckabee explained that he SHOWED the ad to all the reporters - getting it on national news for zero bucks - because unless he DID, the reporters would think he didn't really HAVE an ad. There was nothing WRONG with the ad....

Porcupine would have enjoyed Huckabee's explanation of this factual error. It must have been Jesus' kid brother that made him do it....

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The Second Face of Janus - 2008

Below are Porcupine's Predictions for the year 2008.

As the Roman God looks into the future, here are some predictions for 2007. First, like last year, these are predictions from last year that Porcupine still believes will come to pass.

Justice John Paul Stevens will die this year, giving Bush his third choice for the Court.

Fidel Casto will die, and Congress will seize the opportunity to normalize relations with Cuba.

While for 2007, they netted Porcupine a score of Zero, Porcupine believes it it a matter of - not yet....

Here are the others in no particular order:

Gov. Deval Patrick will file his second budget as Governor with a heavy reliance on gambling revenues to justify expansions in local aid, making it clear that without a casino bill, local aid will be cut. Speaker Sal DiMasi will retaliate with a House budget that guts all of the Governor's pricey new initiatives like biotech and the housing funding, and will make it clear that the Legislature will not spend money that it does not and may never have. It will fall to Senate President Therese Murray to make peace, telling the Governor that you can't write a budget with pie-in-the-sky revenue forecasts, and telling DiMasi that money can be found in a reasonable way. Her brokering of the situation catapults her into power, setting her up to become the Billy Bulger of the 21st century.

The House will lose its leader as Speaker Sal DiMasi will not finish out the Session in his current position. The battle ro replace him will be between John Rogers and Gene O'flaherty at first, but it is Ron Mariano who will emerge as the next Speaker.

Governor Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination for President, and Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. Gov. Romney will be elected the 44th President of the United States.

Casino gambling will not be legalized in Massachusetts by the Legislature, but the Wampanoags will push ahead with their Middleboro casino plan after the Federal Government places their land in trust; it will be profitable enough to begin with poker and roulette, as they will not have to pay the state and the tribe will begin to lobby for the legalization of slots in 2009, supported by Suffolk Downs and other racetracks, who also want slot machine gambling.

Yarmouth will become the first town to vote to leave the Cape Cod Commission, with at least one other town joining the quest for special legislation. The charm offensive of the new director, Paul Niedzwicki, will not be enough to convince the towns that the Commission is worth the trouble or taxes any longer.

Barnstable's Charter Commission will recomment that Barnstable become the first city on Cape Cod, with a Plan E 'strong manager-weak mayor' government. This charter will be narrowly defeated, due mainly to disapproval of seeking city status, and the Charter Commission will continue its work into 2009.

Long time County Commissioner Mary LeClair will be replaced with a Democrat, the first crack in the long time Republican domination of county government. Controversial District Attorney Michael O'Keefe will be re-elected handily.

The Cape Wind wind farm project will receive the go-ahead from the Minerals Management Services, and Sen. O'Leary's ocean zoning bill will not pass in this Session, and its obstructionism will become moot. The Cashman project in Buzards Bay in the marine sanctuary will not be approved, however.

Porcupine had an average score of 48% for 2007 predictions - not bad, considering two out of ten were zero. But he can do better!

See you New Year's Eve, 2008, to see how accurate these are!

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